I took a trip to San Francisco yesterday in a rental car, so that meant taking my collapsible road bike-a Bike Friday Pocket Companion. It is sold as a touring bike, but I bought it for the low climbing gears. It has a triple, and I replaced the stock 30t small chainring with a 24t, which gives me a 16 inch low gear.
Thanks to a cyclist on another forum, I got a list of the steepest streets in The City. Because of limited daylight, I decided to start with all the steepest climbs in the Nob Hill, Russian Hill, and Pacific Heights areas.
I started with Filbert between Hyde and Leavenworth, a 31.5% grade. This is where I discovered that my waterbottle needed to be on the frame-mounted bottle cage, not the handlebar-mounted one. It kept poking me in the chest because I had to lean over so much.
Next was Jones between Filbert and Union, a 29% grade. After that was Jones between Union and Green, a 26% grade. Then a ride down Broadway and up some more lesser hills before the next steep street-Webster between Broadway and Vallejo (26%). Next was Fillmore between Broadway and Vallejo at 24%.
The next hill is where I met my match. Broderick between Broadway and Vallejo is a 38% grade. It is so steep there is no road, just a sidewalk on the left side of the street (facing uphill).
I made it halfway up on my first attempt, then ran out of steam. Same thing 4 tries later, each time making less progress than the time before. By then it was dark and I decided to go back to Nob Hill and climb the last hill of the day, Jones between Pine and California (24.8%). Typical of the last hard climb of a ride, this one hurt near the top. Good stuff!
My HR hit 202 on this ride. I saw it hit 200 at the top of the only climb where I remembered to look at the Garmin.
I brought my GoPro with me and mounted it on the handlebars. There's no way my helmet-mounted ContourHD would have produced good footage with this ride. I had my head down for most of the climbs, so you would have had a lovely view of the pavement.
I only had to use my lowest gear on Broderick. I did the second attempt in second gear, but all the rest were in the lowest gear.
Here's the video. I left out the last climb up Jones because, like the ContourHD, the GoPro sucks at night video. You can see for yourself on the last attempt up Broderick.
Be forewarned, the intensity of these efforts is very audible at times, so keep this in mind if you have anyone within earshot while watching this.
Here's some pics.
Bottom of Filbert between Hyde and Leavenworth
Top of Filbert
Bottom of Jones between Union and Filbert
Top of Jones between Union and Filbert
Fillmore between Vallejo and Broadway
Webster between Vallejo and Broadway
Top of Broderick between Broadway and Vallejo
Bottom of Broderick
Top of Jones between California and Pine